UNION — “Without the loyalty and support of our members we would be going nowhere.”
That’s the way that UCAC president Bennie Giles explains the success of the Union County Arts Council.
“We receive half of our yearly funding through our membership drive and that allows us to offer classes, exhibits and other programs that benefit all of the residents of Union County,” said Giles.
This has been a big year for UCAC with the offerings being expanded with more gallery shows, classes, programs and workshops than ever before.
“Everything that we do is planned to give our patrons a diverse choice of things to do,” explained UCAC coordinator Jackie Senn. “We offer programs in fine art, crafts, literary art and music for both adults and children.”
UCAC’s longest-running art program is Thursday mornings’ “Painting with Coffee” which is led by watercolorist Betsy Skipper. While not actually a class, this group of artists meets to socialize and work on their own art projects. Artists of all levels of experience are welcome to attend.
The UCAC Writers’ Group meets monthly under the direction of Stephanie Bentley and gives writers the opportunity to read new work to other writers and enable them to have other writers offer advice about ways to improve their writing.
“One of our writers, Dan O’Shields, wrote the newest play for Boogaloo Folklife Productions,” added Senn. “It was great to see our group being sought out by another organization and, even better, we were able to accommodate them.”
For the area musicians, UCAC has two music programs on tap. The first, “Jam With Lunch” meets on the first Thursday of the month and is an acoustic session. Musicians of any genre are invited to come in and play. Then, on the third Monday of each month, UCAC hosts “Monday Night Music”. This is a larger, more upscale program than the lunchtime jam. Microphones, amplifiers and a PA system are set up for the musicians’ use. Anyone wanting to come by and just listen to the music during both of these programs is welcome to do so.
Our gallery has hosted four exhibits this year: Works by Larry Mauldin, the $1.00 Show in conjunction with an exhibit by Claude Buckley, a two-part Youth Art Show consisting of work by students in local schools and home schooled art programs and, currently, a Photography Contest and Exhibition.
Upcoming events include an exhibit of watercolors by Betsy Skipper, works in oil by Diarmuid Kelly and a show called “Harvest Moon” which will feature the combined talent of the UCAC Artists’ Guild, the Writers’ Group and members of the music programs who will present art, poetry and songs all based on the harvest moon theme. Two more educational opportunities will be available with the Diarmuid Kelly Oil Workshop and an Image Editing photography class.
Finally, to close out the year, local artists are invited to show their works in UCAC’s “Local Artists’ Showcase.”
UCAC’s summer youth programs will begin in June with a four-week series of art classes by Rebecca Penland. Each class will meet on a Friday morning with subject matter and techniques changing each session. The classes include Drawing Disney Characters in Pencil, Still Life with Pastels, “A Day at the Beach” with Acrylics and Nature Using Watercolors.
The second summer program is the yearly Youth Summer Art Camp. This is a week-long camp featuring various watercolor techniques and taught by Katie Paschall. All of these summer events are taking registrations now.
“As an example of how we’ve grown we had a total of 487 visitors in May alone,” said Senn. “We will easily pass last years’ visitor total. We currently have 455 members on our rolls. Many of them signed up to take advantage of our discounts on classes and workshops that members receive. Our members also get first notification of our programs which allows them to sign up before they fill up.”
The UCAC staff is already scheduling events for next year and, with the continued support of a strong membership, will be able to make next year even bigger than this one.
For more information about UCAC, or to become a member, call 864-429-2817 or email email@example.com.